Login to My Account | FAQ | Customer Support | Contact

Drawing Lesson 33 – Proportion of the Human Body

Discover the Proportion of the Human Body

Video Lesson Description

In this video lesson, you will discover the Proportion of the Human Body and how to use them in drawing.

Enroll Now

Proportion of the Human Body

In this lesson, the Proportion of the Human Body is examined on a drawing of a Greek sculpture that is now displayed in the British Museum, in London.

When drawing a body, a fine artist must check what balance it has; if the body-weight is equally distributed between both legs or if most of the weight is supported by one of the feet. How the body’s posture affects the knee line, pelvis line, and stomach, chest and shoulder lines.

Contrapposto

In our example, the young man is standing upright, with most of his bodyweight redistributed to his left foot, while his right foot supports his balance. Such pose is called Contrapposto. The term Contrapposto comes from Italian “opposite”. Ancient Greek and Renaissance artists and sculptures favoured contrapposto poses in their art.

In contrapposto, the standing human figure bears the weight on one leg (called the engaged leg), while the other leg is bent at the knee. With the weight redistribution, the hips, shoulders, and head tilt, take more relaxed and natural pose.


Proportion of the Human Body
As you can see on the lesson’s drawing, the model’s left leg is straight and tilted to the side so the center of his body-weight is located straight above his left footprint. His right leg is bent to reduce pressure on his right foot. This is why the pelvis line is not horizontal but tilted down to some extent.

A tilted pelvis causes the spine to curve like a bow to the left. A bent spine helps maintain his body balance, keeping the center of his body-weight above the left footprint.

A curved spine, in turn, has tilted lines at the abdomen and the chest.

Proportions of the Human Body

Proportion of the Human Body – 1 – The human body is divided equally into two parts in the region of the pubis bones of the pelvis.

Proportion of the Human Body – 2 – The width of arms, extended to both sides, is equal to the total body height. Therefore, the human body standing with its arms spread can be inscribed in a perfect square.

Proportion of the Human Body – 3 – The distance from the spine to the end of an extended arm is half of the body height.

Proportion of the Human Body – 4 – he length of the face from the bottom of the chin to the hair roots above the forehead is equal to the length of the hand from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger.

Proportion of the Human Body – 5 – The human ribcage has an oval shape like an egg with the smaller rounded side facing upward.

Proportion of the Human Body – 6 – The elbow joint is located on the same level as the lower end of the ribcage.

Proportion of the Human Body – 7 – The height of a human head fits in one-eighth part of the total body height. This is the ideal Greek proportion. In real life, this proportion might vary from one-sixth to one-eighth, depending on each individual. This proportion also depends on age. Toddlers have a much bigger head in proportion to their body, and as their body grows faster, their head decreases this proportion as they age.


Proportion of the Human Body - Drawing Academy Video Lesson
Proportion of the Human Body – 8 – Here is a handy guide for measuring the Proportion of the Human Body by the height of the head according to ideal proportions:

– Knee line will be located two head heights from the ground;

– The middle point of the body will be four head heights from the ground and four heads from the top;

– The chest line is located two head heights from the top;

– Also, the distance from the shoulder to the elbow is equal to one head length.

Proportion of the Human Body – 9 – The eye-line goes in the middle of the human head. So, dividing the distance from the very top of the head to the bottom of the chin will indicate an eye-line.

Proportion of the Human Body – 10 – The height of the face, which is the distance between the hair-root line and the bottom of the chin, is equal to the length of the hand.

Proportion of the Human Body – 11 – The length of a foot is equal to the distance between the chin to the top of the parietal bone of the skull. The height of a foot is one-third of its length.

Proportion of the Human Body – 12 – The length of the hand is roughly equal to the distance from the wrist to the well-developed biceps when art is bent at a right angle.

The Proportion of the Human Body presented in this lesson is idealized according to classical Greek and Roman art. In real life, human body proportions may deviate to some extent.

Enroll in the Drawing Academy Course:
Three Monthly Installments
Pay for the course in 3 easy installments
  • Receive 15 new videos monthly (45 in total)
  • Incredible discount – $4,164
  • Bonuses - Fine Art eBooks and Videos
  • Drawing Academy Diploma of Excellence after course completion in 3 months
  • Personal coaching by Drawing Academy Tutors
  • Lifetime membership. Free after the 3rd month
Total cost: $291 (three $97 installments)

Add to Cart

Complete Course - BEST VALUE
Get all video lessons for a one-time payment
  • Immediate access to all 45 video lessons
  • Incredible discount – $4,198
  • Bonuses - Fine Art eBooks and Videos
  • Drawing Academy Diploma of Excellence after course completion in 3 months
  • Personal coaching by Drawing Academy Tutors
  • Lifetime membership. No more payments
Total cost - Only $257

Add to Cart